British Gas simplifies tariffs but Ofgem must still actConsumers need a simple energy tariff system
24 November 2011
British Gas has promised to slash the number of energy tariffs it offers as part of a range of changes to restore consumer trust.
The energy supplier has announced that it is to cut the number of tariffs to just two – fixed and variable – to ensure that consumers can compare prices more easily.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: 'People are frustrated with complicated energy tariffs, so it is good to see British Gas listening to its customers and taking the first step towards making them simple and easier to compare.
'As part of its Retail Market Review, energy regulator Ofgem must now take action so that this happens across the board. We want all tariffs to be easy to understand - with a simple daily rate and unit price.'
Tackling energy tariffs
Since September this year, over 6300 people have emailed Ofgem to support the introduction of a simple tariff for all energy companies.
Ofgem is expected to announce the next stage of its Retail Market Review in the next two weeks, and Which? is hoping that it lays out plans for a simple tariff system for all energy companies.
During an investigation this year, Which? asked 36 people to calculate the cost of their energy bills using information from the suppliers websites. Only one person, a company director, found the right answer. Watch our tariff exam video to find out more.
Cheapest deals removed
In simplifying its energy tariffs British Gas admits that it has taken some of its cheapest deals off the market. Phil Bentley, managing director of British Gas, explained that it had been offering cheaper deals as loss leaders to attract new customers and said 'it's not right if we are charging honest customers more.'
Richard Lloyd said: 'We want these changes to lead to fairer prices. Customers will react badly if British Gas use this as an opportunity to push prices up even further.'
More affordable energy
Lobbying for simpler tariffs is just one part of Which?'s affordable energy campaign. We'd like to see consumers being presented with clear information so that they can choose the cheapest energy deal.
We also want to call a halt to misleading sales practices in the energy industry, and make sure that people have the right information about energy-efficiency products so that they can keep their energy bills as low as possible.